Sabbath Reminds Us of This

Imagine this scenario: You're walking down the street and you encounter someone in distress, perhaps injured or ill and clearly in need of assistance. What would you do? Would you stop to help, or would you continue on your way, rationalizing that someone else would surely step in?

This is the core question explored in a fascinating study conducted by psychologists John Darley and C. Daniel Batson in 1973. The study looked at the factors that influence whether people choose to help someone in an emergency situation. This study was based on Jesus' Parable of the Good Samaritan.

The experiment involved theology students from Princeton University who were led to believe they were participating in a study about religious education and vocations. Each student was given instructions to walk to another building on campus to give a talk on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Some were told they were running late, while others were led to believe they had plenty of time.

Along the way, each student encountered a man slumped in an alleyway, clearly in need of assistance – though it was, in reality, an actor playing the part. The researchers wanted to see how the perceived time pressure would affect the students' willingness to stop and help this stranger.

The results were striking. Of those who believed they were running late, a mere 10% stopped to help the man in need. In contrast, over 60% of those who felt they had sufficient time did choose to stop and offer assistance.

This experiment highlighted the profound impact that seemingly minor situational factors can have on our behavior. Even people who had dedicated their lives to ethical and moral pursuits were significantly less likely to actually help someone when facing perceived time constraints. The findings underscore how susceptible we all are to the subtle pressures and circumstances that shape the decisions we make each day.

The Sabbath is intended in part to be the antidote to time constraints. On the Sabbath, God invites us to pause from what is otherwise an endless pursuit of resources needed to assure we stay alive. On the Sabbath, we're invited to recognize Jesus as the assurance of everything we need for eternal life.

A common complaint in today’s world is that there’s not enough time. In God’s reality, God gives us time to stop once a week as a reminder to receive His Rest.

But the receiving of God’s Rest doesn’t close the loop. The Sabbath is also a call to offer rest to our neighbors. No longer needing to hurry, we can stop and give words of encouragement and acts of kindness to a neighbor, especially a neighbor in need.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church identifies as God’s End-Times Remnant Church that proclaims the Three Angels Messages of Revelation 14. This passage of Revelation that proclaims the everlasting gospel and warns against false worship, also describes two important characteristics of God’s remnant church.

"Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12 NKJV).

The Seventh-day Adventist Church rightly points to the Sabbath commandment as the dividing line between those who receive the seal of God and those who receive the mark of the beast.

Knowing the seventh day is the Sabbath, attending church services on the Sabbath, and resting on the Sabbath are not sufficient for keeping the Sabbath holy.

For the Sabbath to be kept holy, the life of a Sabbath-keeper must reflect the character of Jesus every day of the week.

The Sabbath command to rest, and to give rest to others, is a reminder that our lives reveal Jesus' character best when we love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

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